HUNDREDS of people packed out a public meeting vowing to protect green belt land around Gornal.

The meeting, at the Royal British Legion on Ruiton Street, saw the community unite to save the green belt's classification to protect it from potential future development.

The campaign is being run by residents in the Straits and Himley Road areas and has grown after the discovery that sections of green belt land bordering Gornal have been put forward by developers as part of South Staffordshire Council's review to see how the district can meet its housing needs up to 2037.

South Staffordshire Council must build 8,845 houses by 2037 and have stated their preference to build 40% of the homes on the western border of the Black Country.

No plans have been submitted, but proposals have been put forward for the potential development of over 800 houses on green belt land around the Straits and Himley Road areas.

If implemented, the developments could double the size of the existing Straits estate, with land adjacent to Brick Kiln Lane, Eaton Crescent, Wallows Wood, St Andrews Close, Ladbrook Grove, Straits Road, Himley Gardens, St Michaels Road, High Arcal Road and Sandyfields Road under threat.

Now, residents have vowed to object to any degrading of green belt land to ensure it remains safe from any future development.

Jayne Marsh, a resident of the Straits who organised the meeting, said: "We had a wonderful turnout, we had nearly 200 people, we only expected 30 or 40.

"It's wonderful to see that so many people are coming together to protect the green belt.

"I grew up on this estate, it's wonderful. We're so lucky to have nearby Baggeridge, Cotwall End, Himley Hall and Wallows Wood. There's so much wildlife there, it's been green belt for 50 years.

"We need to protect our children's future so that they get the same opportunities to use the the green belt like we did."

Jayne, who says she was 'horrified' by the proposals after stumbling across them online, also pointed out the added pressure more homes will have on services in Dudley, such as schools, GP surgeries and roads.

She said: "Facilities in Dudley are already overstretched. It's creaking at the seams already."

The meeting saw members of the Save the Seven Cornfields campaign share tips, while Dudley North Conservative parliamentary hopeful Marco Longhi signed a pledge to save the green belt, while a representative of Labour candidate Melanie Dudley announced her support for protecting the green belt.

Jayne is urging residents to send in their objections to any change to the green belt before South Staffordshire's consultation ends at 5pm on Thursday, December 12.

Objections should be made in writing, either by sending an email to uk or by writing a letter to Strategic Planning Team, South Staffordshire Council, Council Offices, Wolverhampton Road, Codsall.

Letter writing sessions will also be held at St Andrews Church Hall on the Straits on November 26 and December 3 and 10 from 10am to 12pm for people to draft their objections.

A petition has also been launched although campaigners have stressed it also crucial for people to write letters as a petition is only classed as one objection, while a Facebook group, called Save North of Himley Road Green Belt, has so far garnered over 1,000 members.

South Staffordshire Council has stressed that the no sites have yet been selected and specific sites will be consulted in summer 2020.